As of this morning I have 631 FaceBook friends. But whenever I start feeling cocky about the number of people who consider me their friend, I just click on my daughter Anna’s FaceBook page. She has 942 friends. One very outgoing friend’s FaceBook page says she has 1,537!
Oddly enough, some of my FaceBook “friends” really aren’t my friends at all. We never talk, email, or hang out. Some I haven’t seen in 30 years. In fact, sometimes I wonder if FaceBook actually contributes to the disintegration of friendships.
Please join us in today’s conversation as we look at this closer.
A WORD OF CONGRATULATIONS
We recently reached the 2/3 mark in reading through the Bible in a year. Congratulations!
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
Ecclesiastes 4:1-6:12. Solomon must have been feeling a little morose while writing Ecclesiastes. After exposing the meaninglessness of riches, poverty, and power, he reflects, “Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God” (5:19). Finding contentment with our place in life is truly a gift of God. “Godliness with contentment is great gain,” Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 6:6. Seems to me that learning to enjoy the life God has given is may be a spiritual discipline.
2 Corinthians 6:14-7:7. Paul seems to take a tangent in 6:14-7:1 as he discusses being yoked together with unbelievers. The context tells us he was referring to idol worship. Living this out in our everyday lives, however, is tricky. What does it mean to be unequally yoked? The yoke, obviously, refers to a set of oxen who pull a wagon or plow, but God doesn’t require us to work separately from unbelievers. It seems to me that the greater the level of intimacy, the more we need to be aware that hitching a yoke with an unbeliever may take us in conflicting directions.
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
What constitutes a friend?
In Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Solomon offers an important argument for friendship and community:
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! (verses 9-10)
While reading this passage, it struck me that technology seems to work against community and relationships. We sit behind a computer and communicate through FaceBook. We send text messages on our cell phone because we don’t want to get bogged down in conversations. My daughters rarely talk on the phone with their friends because they prefer texting. “Talking on the cell phone is for old people” one of my 13-year-olds told me the other day.
Despite state-of-the-art technology and communications, it seems we’re becoming increasingly isolated. When we sit down to dinner, I’m forced to demand that my daughters set aside their cell phone so they won’t text the whole time. When I stood in line at the grocery store last night, a man in front of me was talking on his cell phone while paying for his items. He seemed oblivious to everyone around him.
Now please understand, I’m not against technology. I love techie gadgets. But texting, emailing, and cell phone calls don’t constitute a relationship. Almost every week, Eugene and I tell our church that “relationships are sacred.” Relationships, though, are best built in person. One-on-one conversations. Doing things together. Sharing our hearts with one another. Only then can we help the other person up.
- What spoke to you in today’s reading?
- How do you find contentment?
- To what extent do you enjoy the life God has given you? What prevents you from enjoying it? Why do you allow it to distract you?
- How many friends do you really have? What defines it as a friendship?
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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.